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Advice sought - RAF Pilot application and recurring shoulder subluxations watch

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    Hi there

    Like so many others I have wanted to be a RAF pilot since a very young age. I am a current 2nd year UAS student who was completely over the moon after recently passing the aptitude test for pilot.

    Unfortunately since July 2011 I have had a shoulder dislocation/subluxation on 2 occasions. I have visited a physiotherapist multiple times to seek treatment but have deliberately avoided any further medical assistance such as visiting my GP in order to keep the problem off my medical record. This is because I feel that getting the shoulder instability seen to may reduce my chances of being successful in my career goal.

    I am writing on here in the hope that I can gather some informed advice that can be given that will potentially help me make a decision on whether to a) seek treatment (and possibly reduce chances of my desired career) or b) to continue to avoid treatment (and likely suffer from further instability)

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    Well as you'll probably know, pilot recruiting doesn't really exist at the moment.

    I'd say get it treated and risk the career- what if it were to crop up in IOT and you get medically discharged? At least with physio you stand a chance of getting it sorted out beforehand.
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    I'd get it treated too - worst case scenario isn't really worth thinking about :s. Have you considered becoming a RPAS pilot??
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    (Original post by AlexF389)
    I'd get it treated too - worst case scenario isn't really worth thinking about :s. Have you considered becoming a RPAS pilot??
    You don't get to decide whether you become an RPAS pilot...
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    (Original post by Rooster523)
    You don't get to decide whether you become an RPAS pilot...
    Speaking to my AFCO, there is apparently a debate as to whether they would recruit candidates that are not fit for flying, but have the aptitude, to be RPAS pilots. Happy to be corrected but they told me I could be in with a shot if I waited a few months.
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    (Original post by Rooster523)
    Well as you'll probably know, pilot recruiting doesn't really exist at the moment.
    It sort of does. There is light coming out of the door.

    (Original post by Rooster523)
    You don't get to decide whether you become an RPAS pilot...
    Long term (1-3 yrs perhaps) I think the desire is it will become an entirely separate branch, as there are all sort of possibilities with regards to who (Regulars? Auxiliaries?), and with what qualifications, could do the job. At the moment the recruitment is entirely from within the service.
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    Interesting to hear about the possibility of RPAS becoming a separate branch in the future.
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    (Original post by Darren82)
    Interesting to hear about the possibility of RPAS becoming a separate branch in the future.
    It is already becoming so, but currently recruiting is only from within the service. So, currently on certain RPAS types (I believe it's currently the unarmed predator, as opposed to the armed Reaper) we have fully breveted pilots, and serving alongside them RPAS breveted pilots (same style wings, different coloured laurels).
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    (Original post by Fritz Bollinger)
    It is already becoming so, but currently recruiting is only from within the service. So, currently on certain RPAS types (I believe it's currently the unarmed predator, as opposed to the armed Reaper) we have fully breveted pilots, and serving alongside them RPAS breveted pilots (same style wings, different coloured laurels).
    I saw something in November about RPAS being introduced as a separate branch so it's definitely happening, it's just a case of when. As for pilots, recruitment had started again with about 40ish this year and 70ish next year, this years figures have been swallowed by the large number of pilot bursars waiting to start IOT!


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    Before everybody starts getting keen about going in as an RPAS pilot, it's worth remembering we currently only have a tiny fleet of aircraft so the need for pilots for them is small. While initial requests were for around 10 of them, only 3 were initially delivered and one was crashed - and subsequently deliberately destroyed - soon after operational use began in Afg. With all the money spent on UORs stopped, orders like this will take a backstep - especially now we're about to withdraw from Afg.

    The Army's UAVs will carry on going in much larger numbers but at the moment don't require it's pilot to be anywhere near as trained as the RAF/USAF (we copied their training system) wants them to be. In the future we might be operating more Reapers or we might be using indigenous UAVs, but that's a ways off yet - we have no money.
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    Drewski is pretty far from the mark when it comes to our RPA fleets; we have more than 3, less than 10, several orders already paid for, and some rolling out of the factory right now. We also have some standing agreements with the US Reaper force to allow us to use their aircraft; the whole thing is very mixed together.

    REAPER (in capitals) as a UOR is funded until end of FY14/15, but Reaper (the platform) has, according to my Main Building spies, already been funded until the end of FY17/18. Not as many aircraft and ground control stations as the full-up additional capability UOR that people I know are training on right now, but we'll by flying Reapers for at least the rest of this decade.

    Beyond that, you can expect that Reaper will probably mop up 75% of the SCAVENGER requirement; and as that was represented by 2 squadrons in the Future Force 2020 concept, I think that means you'll probably find 39 and XIII Sqns, or their successors, still operating happily into the 2020s and beyond.

    In terms of manning, I know we currently have 4 RPAS pilots. It's not its own branch, it's a specialisation within the Flying branch, so you can now join as a pilot, a WSO, WSOp, or RPAS pilot. The Reaper force has, at a guess, probably got about 30-40 pilots, expanding probably to something like 50-60 as XIII start operating properly. That means right now, only 10% of our Reaper pilots are RPA-only pilots. While we'll never get to 100%, there will always be traditional manned pilots rolling through, I should imagine we'll want that percentage to increase significantly. We didn't copy the USAF trg system, btw; we sent our trial RPASP guys through it in its entirety, but diverted them to Predators to fit the USAF method. British aircrew converting to Reaper had an entirely different UK-only OCU until we paid into sending guys direct to the USAF Reaper FTU, but then doing a distinct UK work-up on the UK unit.

    Anyway, I'd say recruitment for RPASP will be strong and permanent, with an enduring requirement for new people. To paraphrase Drewski, those of you getting keen about joining as an RPA Pilot; do get keen! It's a fascinating way of operating from my experience of it, a fast route to being operational, and if it takes off like it has in the US then an easy route in to a lucrative second career.

    People are getting too HERRICK-centric; but anyone who's operated at the higher end of some of our SF stuff in HERRICK and beyond will know that certain people won't go anywhere without a Reaper anymore, so its future's not only virtually guaranteed, but probably going to be very interesting.
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    Nice diversion, but to the OP:

    Go to the docs and get it sorted. Now. The sooner it is fixed, the sooner you get a chance to try to apply. Trying to carry a known injury is not possible and it will show itself at some point.
    Other than just common sense to get a medical problem sorted, integrity is a trait that is sought.
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    Hello to you too OT then; I work alongside someone who suffered continual subluxations throughout the majority of his career. Physio generally sorted it, and as a first stab, 99% of doctors are probably just going to refer you to a physio and get you to keep the joint strong. A purely repairable mechanical injury will not stop you joining; the absolute total worst case is that you need surgery and a year of training before you're fit enough for IOT. Chances are though, with just 2 subluxations that returned without medical intervention, you're going to get a bunch of physio and told to crack on.

    My colleague had his operated on after about a dozen subluxations, where it had got too weak to do anything with. Recovery was pretty lengthy but he's got a full flying medical cat again.

    If you want to take a risk and hope no-one will spot it, then it's a bit silly, but a shoulder prone to subluxations isn't necessarily something that can be fixed or something that'll show up. And if it's happened twice in a couple of years, assuming it was in the same sort of circumstances, most people would consider a large, open surgery procedure to be overkill; including, I believe, the military.

    Bottom line is if it's considered a problem for entry, then it's for good reason; you'll just end up popping it out when suspended from a winch during sea drills, which is a lot more serious than bumping it out of the socket in the gym. So if they say that predilection for subluxations is a no-go, then it's not worth the risk of trying to sneak it through. I should imagine, though, they won't bother in the slightest unless it falls out when you cough.

    Go see your doctor and get referred for some long-term physio. If you get to OASC, expect them to manipulate it and palpate the joint to see how unstable it is; and if they think it's too unstable, go get surgery. Saves a lot of bother further on.
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    (Original post by Wzz)
    ..according to my Main Building spies...
    That's cheating!
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    .... but valid!
 
 
 
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